Imran Khan: More than a silent guardian?
It was a grand evening. It was a momentous night. As the dawn was to witness the birth of a journey that would march millions to a land long-yearned.
A silent guardian, an inglorious savior and an unsung (political) hero emerged to single-handedly pull out the masses out of a deepening quagmire of despair. The knight gave up lurking in a shadow and surfaced to light to protect and save us from falling into a bottomless pit of decadence.
A day when, under the glimmering lights, a new political leader was born and so does the plethora of hopes.
Pakistanis finally had its savior standing in front of them unmasked, uncloaked and undaunted and they all stood up and greeted him with surging emotions, pulsating ecstasy, escalating rapture, mounting celebrations, rhythmic slogans, musical cheers and weeping eyes filled with tears of hope.
It was surreal.
In a mere course of few hours, against our wildest dreams, we were smitten by his debonair looks, heroic demeanor, resonating voice, reverberating words, awakening sermon enriched with sincerity, commitment, resolution and promise of a prosperous future.
In a single spark, he lit thousands of flames of hope in millions of hearts, the fire and heat of which can never be quenched.
And before our eyes, our lives were changed – forever. But, it didn’t take too long to realize that it wasn’t just our lives that were changed, Pakistan too was changed – forever.
We were incurably poisoned, inextricably knotted and perpetually politicized by the movement birthed that night which he named ‘a journey to Naya Pakistan’.
Although, the meteoric rise of the movement was widely prophesied as ephemeral but, it soon emerged as a force to be reckoned with; to be escaped by anyone.
Pakistan had its leader – once again – after the one it has laid down in a white marble tomb beside the raging tidal sea.
The savior, we were told, bears the name Imran Khan.
On 30th October 2011, he brought the paradigm shift in the perception of the entire nation as how they view politics and it was changed forever from thereon.
Standing there, in that very moment, we questioned ourselves if this man is divinely ordained for something big? We didn’t get the answer to it but, we knew that he is no ordinary man and his existence is not purposeless.
The change-merchant came from nowhere and in a blink of an eye changed the political and social fabric of the whole country. The political and social fabric dyed in corruption, pillage, criminality and villainy – ruled by elitist crooks – was not only perennially shaken and cracked by him but, he took on a battle against it.
And he fought it valiantly, almost losing his life.
But, he lost. He lost his ideology of change to deep-rooted feudal and dynastic politics webbed in the caste and clan system fed by the moneyed and powerful.
He lost it to people who are in love with their chains of slavery. But, above all he lost it to people to whom Imran Khan is the hero they deserve but, don’t need right now.
But, that wasn’t the real defeat. The real defeat began when Imran Khan couldn’t move on from that defeat. He froze in that moment. He got stuck in the past. For, he claimed he didn’t lose but, was made to lose (the battle) which he failed to prove – on paper, at least.
The naysayers termed the Judicial Commission’s verdict as another defeat and setback for Imran Khan but, the verdict fell like water off a duck’s back.
Because, irrespective of what the Judicial Commission verdict had stated, the fact is it couldn’t and wouldn’t dispel the perception that 2013 elections were rigged (systematically or unsystematically) as people are a first-hand victim and witness of it.
Imran Khan deserves a standing ovation rather, the standing-on-the-chair-ovation to be the first man in the electoral history of Pakistan to stand up steadfastly on the rigging issue.
The 126 days long dharna witness his historic commitment and determination for the fight against the robbery of the fundamental right of a common man. But, the reality is that his dharna is not going to win him elections.
Rigging is the problem of those with bellies full.
Imran Khan could also have utilized the dharna to build pressure for electoral reforms simultaneously with an election audit but, he chose to be an ‘avenger’ rather than a ‘reformist’.
And that is where the problem lies. In pursuit of justice, his leadership began to revolve around one center-point i.e. rigging. He forgot everything else. He forgot that he is consuming all his hard work, energies and time on one issue and that he has a whole province to turn into a model of ‘Naya Pakistan’ to sell in the next elections. People are yet to see the palpable change. The physical change. The change that can be touched. The change that can be seen. The change that Imran Khan promised. He forgot he owes so much to the people who confided in him and his change mantra. But, sadly, with half of the tenure passed the bridge is just quarter crossed and he even forgot to market the feats he has achieved while crossing the quarter of the bridge.
He forgot that his party has another responsibility on its shoulders i.e. manifest itself as a front-line opposition to take on the ruling party for their demons, scams and fiascos. He forgot the importance of ‘optics’ and ‘perception’.
He forgot that his door to the power halls lies in electoral reforms and not hanging the culprits or perpetrators of his defeat because the harsh reality is he can’t, under this system, he can’t. As this system belongs to plunderers, bribers, thugs, criminals, rogues and white-collar scoundrels. To be served justice under this system can be a wishful dream (of him) but, not a reality. He is too good to fight the evil by just being good and lives in a fool’s world to think he can win by fighting swords with wooden sticks.
To dismantle this demonic system he needs to get into the system. For that, he must give up this futile battle and get his weapons ready for the bigger war of 2018.
He forgot he allowed himself to get consumed in making the ‘wrong of 2013 right’ while forgetting to set things ‘right for 2018’. He forgot and keeps forgetting the reality that his victory lies ahead (in the future) and not behind him (in the past).
His options for the war of 2018 are minimal rather, none. He can’t afford defeat. He has no option of failure. Because, his failure is our perpetual entrance into a dark endless tunnel of the ‘Sharif Dynasty’.
But, again, Imran Khan is the man we can’t give up on for he has emerged as the most ‘unpredictable man’ in recent history which has put him altogether into a different league.
So, now, it is up to him to get his strategies right and reorient his focus or to witness the self-fulfillment of his own prophetic statement:
“No one can defeat PTI but, PTI itself.”
Would he settle for just being a ‘silent guardian’ or fight for becoming a ‘warrior-in charge’ depends on how he will strategise for his 2018 win and give up on his 2013 defeat.